The toll road system in the United States is a jumbled mess! But, it's getting better, and Universal Toll Passes like this one are the solution!
As states, cities and municipalities implemented transponder technology to automate the toll collection process, much of it was done in various levels of isolation. Each tolling agency implementing whichever products and technologies suited the requirements and the bottom dollar.
As time has gone on, many regions decided they needed to work on interoperability, which got us to the EZ-Pass, Sun Pass, Peach Pass, and so on.
This was the state of affairs when we first hit the road in December of 2017. When we hit the first state incompatible with our Sun Pass (Virginia), we purchased an EZ-Pass at a local grocery store. However, when I attempted to activate it, we were unable to because our truck weighed too much. So, we ended up having to get a blue pass instead of the white pass. Of course, this makes no sense from a technology standpoint but makes perfect sense for a government agency. Additionally, we needed two passes: One for the truck alone and one for the truck and RV together.
This was a pain, having two accounts and 3 passes, but did work.
As time went on, we continued to search for a solution. Initially there simply was no solution at all, then we started to see some third party solutions pop up like RVTollpass.com. This seemed like THE solution until we looked at the fees. Since they are not directly tied to the tolling agencies, but act as a middle-man, they all have fees on top of the tolls themselves. We get it. They are providing a solution and have to make money somehow. But, we didn't want to be paying a $15 fee for a month where we might have used one toll.
So, we waited.
One day, we received an email from the Central Florida Expressway Authority, which is the agency responsible for the Florida Turn Pike but is also tied to the E-Pass (Sun Pass) system. They were offering a new UNIversal pass that claimed to work in 18 states from Florida to Maine and west to Illinois! Additionally, the transponder and billing system are compliant with a new standard agreed upon by every state. Thus, as new states get their systems up to the standard and plugged into the new system, the UNI will work on those newly integrated toll roads.
Sign us up!
This summer, we were able to test the UNI from Florida to Maine and Indiana, and it worked as advertised!
You Can Use UNI Too!
You do NOT have to be from Florida or have any ties at all to the state to create a UNI Pass account and get a transponder.
Simply go to www.cfxway.com/uni/ and click the “Order your UNI today”, and follow the prompts.
You can also purchase the UNI on Amazon here (amzn.to/3li75tx) and register it at the above link if you like, but it is a few dollars more.
Before you jump on the UNI, however, you might want to peruse your local toll agency to see if they are offering something similar. They might be able to use the funds already tied to your existing account.